Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for July, 2013

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Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Progress

I found my promotion and tenure folder and files today. Inside is all the evidence I used for obtaining promotion and tenure.  I didn’t add anything to it after that, really. I don’t have any expectation of ever going back to academia, at least not full time. So do I need any of it?

Tomorrow binders go away. That is that. But I still have to empty notes out. And also photocopies of research I had.

I have a lot of books from academia I’m really going to have to think about. A lot are books on literary theory, Victorian literature, women’s literature, and so on. The books I love to read I will keep for sure. But the rest? I don’t like to know what I’ll do. I don’t have to decide for awhile since I won’t be unpacking books until I get shelves installed, which will be a couple months.

I got really tense today, though. I get antsy with all this clutter and not enough put away. I really need less clutter. I need clean. What’s difficult about cleaning is that so much stuff is unpacked,nothing is really cleaning. So making me bugfuck crazy. And here’s the thing–I’m not a clean freak. I don’t know what’s bringing this on. I need to get outside more.

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 29th, 2013
Somewhat diminishing boxes

There are two reefs of boxes in the house. One is essentially books. It is quite large. I will have to cull. I did not dig deep enough before. The second is everything else. It is diminishing somewhat. Today I started pulling office boxes out of the pile. Tonight I found about a half dozen more so I will put those away. I also found more binder boxes. Oh dear. I also have binders of teaching notes. I don’t know if I should get rid of them or not. I did get rid of all my diss research notes. I was proud of that. And if you’re ever of a mind, you can read it on my website. It’s all there. But teaching notes . . . a lot of them I haven’t looked at in ages. Mostly because I tend to re-research books when I teach, just like I reread everything when I teach. Can’t help it.

But at this point, chances are I’m not going to be doing much teaching. I may do some part time stuff, but who knows if I’ll be able to pick up any of that work. So do I store all that? Or just let it go. I don’t have a lot of room. I’m moving forward and part of that means to make some choices about what stays in the past. But it’s hard. Part of it is the PhD. Let me start by saying that that time in school was one of the best times of my life. I will never be that smart again and I learned so very much. I stretched my brain in ways that I can’t begin to tell you. I don’t regret it. Even if I don’t “use” it for academic purposes, I don’t regret getting it. At the same time a small piece of my head thinks that it turns out to be a waste, because I’ve given up my academic position–full professor with tenure. It’s kind of a twisted thinking, I know. I need to straighten myself out.

I’ve been getting stuff into my office. Wish I had shelves though. It would help. But at least I have a closet. Whoohoo!

 

Sunday, July 28th, 2013
The products of our labors

We made wild plum jam and blackberry jam. jamThe wild plum is nice and tart.

Sunday, July 28th, 2013
Desk, berries, wild plums, oh my!

I got the desk. It’s lovely. Heavy and lovely. Here it is (the pic is kind of dark.).   desk1The side part of the desk adjusts as far as how far it extends. It has the keyboard tray, but I won’t use it. I want the monitor on the other desk. I like it higher. There are two hanging file drawers and I think four others, plus a pencil drawer and a pullout desk thing. It’s about 6 feet long and has a glass top. I think it will be perfect. The man I bought it from is retiring and was happy to send it to a good home.

This morning we got up and went blackberry picking. We made a pretty good haul. berriesYou can see there in the three silver bowls and the yellow bowl that they are full. We also stopped and bought a half flat of blueberries at a farmer’s market. But the real find today was the wild plum tree. It had thorns. I didn’t expect that. But we will also be making wild plum jelly. I figure if we don’t have enough, we’ll fill in with plums from our tree. I plan to make jelly with those too, but I’d like some that’s mostly or all wild plum. And now, I’d better go get to making some stuff. Blackberry first.plums

Saturday, July 27th, 2013
A snippet for you

In honor of finishing a chapter and also getting my desk today (I can’t wait!) here is a snippet from the nameless WIP for you:

“I’d like to leave now,” she announced. “It was nice to meet you, Lisette.” She turned and stumbled down the trail, her head spinning. Her legs shook and she stumbled over a clump of grass. Her lungs were tight and she could barely breathe. Rounding a bend, she stopped and violently threw up.

“Miss?”

She snapped straight and spun around to find Lisette’s father standing behind her. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, her stomach lurching again.

“I’m Lattimer Edwards,” he said, eyeing her warily. He’d been stung only a few times. “I want to thank you for helping my daughter. I owe you a debt.”

Her mouth tightened into a grimacing smile. Some thanks. Men holding her prisoner at gunpoint. Quite the Hallmark moment.

He seemed to read her mind. “We don’t cotton much to outsiders and we’re protective of our own. I—  My kids are all I’ve got in the world. I have to protect them as I can. You understand.” There wasn’t a hint of apology in his tone; he was merely explaining a hard reality, one that wouldn’t bend for innocent women.

The truth was that she did understand. Or rather, she’d desperately wished for the same sentiment from her own father. He’d failed her abysmally. Understanding, however, didn’t excuse or justfy this man and his companions threatening her.

“Mr. Edwards, while I appreciate your inclination to thank me, I don’t particularly care for your variety of gratitude. So if you don’t mind, and even if you do, I’d just as soon go home and never see you again, especially not on the other end of a gun.”

Taryn swung around again and hadn’t gone but two steps before he spoke again.

“I’m afraid I can’t oblige you,” he said with an odd combination of pride and apology. “I’ve gotta pay my due when I owe it.”

Friday, July 26th, 2013
Upon Hoarding and Not and Weird Wiring

One of the things about moving is that it’s a chance to really look at your stuff and decide what to keep and what not to. Part of the issue is that you inevitably have stuff that is still good and you don’t want to get rid of it. For instance, I moved with a lot of empty binders because students had turned them in and never collected them back. I had a choice of keeping or throwing away. I used to give them back out to students, but at the end there, I had a ton still. I need to get rid of at least 3/4 of them. Some I might keep for the kids. Now the question is what to do with them. I’d like to donate them to actual people or places that would use them.

I’ve also got a lot of other stuff–collectible type things, glassware, and that sort of thing. Clothes are also in that realm, but I’m in that weird place where I am losing weight to fit back down into a lot of things. Which is to say, I’m fitting back into some things, and very close to others. That’s because I gained the weight relatively quickly and am more than halfway to the point where things should fit pretty well. Of course that could take another couple years to get there, but I’m slow. But I’m willing to hold on to things until they fit and then decide if they are what I want to keep. Part of that issue is that I don’t know what sorts of clothes I will be needing. But I am still attempting to cull what I don’t absolutely like.

We just took our travel trailer to a lot to put on consignment, which meant emptying it all out. We don’t know if we will get another, or look at some other options. I don’t really want to store all the stuff until we do get another or something else. I’m not sure I’ll convince my husband of that. All I know is that I want stuff to be put away. I also don’t want to cram every space full. I used to collect Harmony Kingdom stuff and I want to get rid of most of it.

On the subject of weird wiring, the ac on our truck is . . . well, not precisely out. At first it was blowing hot on the driver’s side, and cold on the passenger’s side. We pulled some fuses looking for anything that was blown, and found nothing. But after that, the AC will only come out the defrost, even if it says it’s coming out the front vents. We have no idea why. Something is obviously wrong. And the check engine light came on.

But tomorrow I get my desk!

I want a little vacation hideaway on the coast. Can I have that? A place to sneak off with the fam, or just go there and write sometimes. Well, it’s a wish. It could happen one day.

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
WIP Snippet

Here’s a snippet. Hope you enjoy. Also, I’ve got a post up on Magical Words on Cardboard Characters today. Do come and visit.

Taryn could only blink in disbelief. It was the stuff of children’s nightmares and old world witch burnings. Her gaze dropped to the book on the rock. She couldn’t argue that there wasn’t magic in Axton. And Granger had come notifying the Book List after Hattie’s attack. He wouldn’t have done that if there wasn’t real power in the books and in the women who claimed them.

Where there was power, there was danger.

Surreptitiously, she nudged the book off the rock into the pool. It sank without a splash.

“I wouldn’t ever hurt you,” she said.

“The question is, why would my Lisette think you would?”

Taryn spun around and fell hard on her butt, only to find herself looking up at the business end of yet another gun.

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
blubbity blub blub

I’d like to have something interesting to say today, but I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel. Mostly I’ve been trying to rearrange and unpack and clean and cook and donate stuff and wrangle kids and put stuff away and write and change addresses and, well, I can’t begin to list it all. I did clip doggie toenails and brush doggies out tonight. They were mostly happy, except neither like the toe clipping. I’m wondering if the nails are so long that it actually hurts Viggo’s front feet and if I can stay on top of clipping in order to shorten them, maybe he’ll feel better. But I have to find a local vet. I think he needs his glands expressed.

I’m trying to prepare to fetch my desk on Saturday. I keep finding stuff I have to put away and keep thinking, why do I want to own this? But it isn’t always about me. and some of it is weirdly sentimental and I have to decide if I can get rid of it. If I need stuff that much. If I want stuff that much.

Here’s some really good advice: don’t spill liquid laundry detergent all over the floor. The garage floor. Don’t upend it unknowingly and let it leak into a big pool. It won’t clean with water. Doesn’t work. I hear (after the fact) that scraping it up with something like a mudding paddle would work, but I ended up taking a bunch of dry rags and wiping it up (a serious bunch) and then when I got all the obvious liquid up, I took a bunch of wet rags (not the same ones because the soap wouldn’t just rinse out of them) and cleaned the rest. Luckily the children were helping and were very helpful. But don’t do it. That’s my advice.

Tomorrow I get to run a bunch more errands and do more slogging of boxes and such. The key thing is that I really need minions. Lots and lots of minions. One day I hope to write full time. Soon as I get a little bit more situated. Yes, that’s the ticket.

Saturday, July 20th, 2013
Fun Days and Shelves! and Hobby Lobby

We started the morning with me going to the farmers market for many good things including red potatoes, cantaloupes, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, peaches, apricots, and cilantro. I think a couple other things snuck into the baskets too. Meanwhile, the man ran his errand and finished the project he was working on. We then set off for Portland. Oh, yesterday I bought a used desk. It’s very nice and I can pick it up next Saturday. It should fit well into my office. Yay! So okay. Went to Portland today to a shop that has unfinished furniture (we were also going to a consignment shop to look at desks, but I found one locally on craigslist, so that dropped off the list). The shop was in this really kitchy cool part of Portland near the Lloyd Center (Lloyds? uncertain).

We ordered shelves for the front room and started working on the shelves for the office, but we can’t fully plan those out until we get the desk situated. What’s nice is that the shelves are birch and alder, well made, and will be quite lovely. We will finish them ourselves. We can’t have them for 4-6 weeks because the order has to be made and a local guy makes them. I’m really excited though. It means I’ll actually get to visit the books I haven’t seen for years, some of them. (We had packed up a bunch when we were getting ready to sell the house and then the house took 2 years to sell).

After that, we had some lunch at Chipotle, and then drove back home on a meandering route that took us through a bunch of Portland. We found an estate sale and stopped in, where I bought some bundt pans, a plastic bundt pan carrier/cover, a couple of full aprons (one is pink and the girlie loves it), and put a couple of bids on some furniture. We’ll hear tomorrow if we got them. One is a really cool little coffee table with drawers at the ends. Could be awesome. The other is a rosewood plant stand. Our bids were on the low side, though, so we may not get them. Ah well.

After that we popped into a tool place and grabbed a furniture dolly for moving the desk, and then we chugged on. The kids were desperately looking for a Krispy Kreme shop (which we did not pass). Sadly, nothing. (Not so sad for me. I was and am still stuffed from lunch at this writing). We decided to meander back through some small towns and farmfields and I was on the hunt for some blackberries to pick. I finally found a good bush–off the main road and easy to get to, plus we were all wearing sandals and shorts, so fairly easy to reach. We picked for about a half hour. Filled the bundt pans and the bundt cake keeper. I estimate at least 16 cups, probably closer to 20. Pie and jelly are in our future.

Now I am about to try getting some words down. I wrote about 2K last night and I’d like to keep the groove up.

Oh, and then this. Hobby Lobby has been, at this point, allowed not to provide birth control to its employees as part of its insurance. I wrote a bit about this on FB this morning, but I was thinking more about it. I got to wondering about whether a judge would have approved this if they were Muslim. Really I wonder if many religions would be approved, but in particular I think Muslims would be excoriated by the courts, partly because of Sharia Law (which I admit I know precious little about, but which is demonized in this country, and I have no idea how ordinary Muslim faith actually follows Sharia Law or not), and partly because of 9/11 and the Taliban. Would Muslims get this same approval? I not only doubt it, I think pigs would fly and screw butterflies first. I think the same would apply to Mormons, frankly. And Amish. And Hutterites. I could go on.

And that leads me to this question: why is it right for one religion to have the ability to dictate the health/sex lives/fertility of its employees, but not others? Well, for me, the answer is it’s not right, not for Texas, not for Arizona, not for Wisconsin, not for anyone. What a woman or man chooses to do with their bodies is their choice, including whether or not to have children.

/off soapbox

Feel free to agree or disagree, to correct me, explain to me, or otherwise discuss.  I merely ask for civility in this discussion, and respecting that other people have opposing beliefs and ideas. The discussion is important to have, regardless of agreement.

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
one day more

I got so sick yesterday. Nausea and other intestinal distress, plus a headache. Today a bit of headache and blurry vision. I’m trying to decide if this is a) a stress reaction to all that’s been going on, b) a reaction to increasing the dosage of one of my meds–the doc told me to, c) I’m actually sick. I may never know. I’m under orders by the man and my mom to take it easier and not push so hard to get the house all unpacked and straightened up. Take my time, is the mandate. I shall try. Though it really is stressful living where you can’t really clean and can’t really straighten up.

I got stuck with the man in traffic yesterday and today when going over the bridge into our side of Salem. Not particularly typical, and not a lot of fun. However, it was nice to have some time alone with the man sans kids to just talk. And laugh. I was looking around at other cars and thinking wouldn’t it be awful if you were having a fight or breaking up with someone and stuck in traffic together? That’s a story in the making right there.

I still can’t call out on my landline. Dish network. I can receive, but not call out. Frustrating. I’m hoping for a fix tomorrow.

This weekend we will try to find me a desk for m office. I have been using a dining table from when I was a kid for ages. It is too big for the new office. I’m looking at craigslist, consignment shops, and antique stores. Still haven’t found what I want. Also looking for shelves this weekend as the builtins are going to be way too freaking expensive. Yet I really really need to get my office set up and my books out so I have a space to work away from the kids. Look. I believe I’m stressing again. Stopping that again.

My new bedroom has this lovely nook where I plan to put a chair. It has a great view and two windows for light. Lovely place to read. I just need to get a chair to put in there. The dog loves lying on the end the bed so he can see out both windows at once.

It’s been decently cool at night, enough to make it so I don’t need to use AC during the day. Just close the house up in the a.m. and open windows at night.

And now must go to bed.

 

 



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